|dc.description.abstract||Despite the recent increase in forest coverage in temperate areas, their intensive use over the centuries has caused a significant transformation of the resource in many parts of the world, particularly in their structure and functionality. In this context, Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) has emerged as a comprehensive alternative to address concerns regarding resource use, nature conservation and socio-economic aspects. However, evidence suggests that its application worldwide still remains inconsistent.
The purpose of this research is to assess how different factors influence the adoption of sustainable forest practices by reviewing the broader literature and case studies from around the world. These have contributed to the development of a theoretical framework that, contrary to what was expected, show that in most cases technical aspects of forest management do not pose significant barriers to SFM, but instead, the factors that appear to more strongly influence its adoption belong to the social sphere.
The validity of this model is tested by comparing and contrasting it against a case study conducted in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. The perceptions of the recent regulatory changes in native forest management at national and provincial levels were assessed by conducting semi-structured interviews with the main stakeholders on the island, as well as with parties at a national level. Although the timing of the research did not allow for an evaluation of the level of success of the reform, the study still allowed for a deep insight into the policy making process and the views held by the different stakeholders. Findings from the case study support those from the broader framework in that social factors are pointed out as more relevant than technical ones in SFM adoption. The historical mismanagement of the resource, together with an unfavourable past relationship with the authorities, have promoted short-term perspectives on the use of the resource and resulted in behaviours inconsistent with SFM. However, the particular migratory patterns in Tierra del Fuego and the resulting demographic composition bring into the picture a novel social component not identified earlier in the broader framework.
Having examined the factors that influence the adoption of SFM, the study concludes that the chances of success of the forest reform in Tierra del Fuego would be improved if: (i) the legitimacy of introduced regulations is sought by guaranteeing the participation of all relevant stakeholders in policy elaboration processes, (ii) significant efforts are placed on improving legal enforcement, (iii) the foreseen economic incentives are carefully assigned to projects that are aligned with the management goals for the island, and through transparent processes, and (iv) opportunities for corrupt arrangements are reduced by reviewing the system for levying forest harvesting fees. Nevertheless, probably the most valuable recommendation for the case study location would be to seize the unique opportunity that a forest management reform provides.||